Friday, 9 January 2015

Jackie Chan in the 1980s - Fearless Hyena II

An odds and sods effort from Lo Wei and Chan Chuen thrown together to make some money when Jackie Chan broke his contract to follow Willie Chan to Golden Harvest. Fearless Hyena II is an artless, inconsistent thing, cobbled together out of deleted scenes from previous Wei / Chan collaborations, that takes sixty minutes to stumble towards an inciting incident. In the meantime we're subjected to Chan stuffing eels down his pants and wringing a hen's neck.

An early scene, clipped out of the original Fearless Hyena, gives a tyrannical restaurateur free reign to insult the star, drawing attention to his girlish hair, big nose and even his eyelid surgery. After breaking some antique bowls, Lung flees rather than settle up with the owner. Following an interlude featuring Austin Wai's Tung, an obnoxious teenage inventor in possession of an automated shack, we're back with our so-called hero, this time gambling away his friend's medicine money.

Fearless Hyena II often feels like Lo Wei's revenge, a petty attempt to undermine and ridicule the departing star. In a sense Chan actually complies with the conceit, delivering some deeply unenthusiastic capering. Wei and Chuen burn through their new Jackie Chan footage pretty quickly handing over to heavily made-up stand-ins for the remainder of the film.

From a certain point onwards Lung is only seen from a distance or with a branch conveniently obscuring his face. Wei's stunt Jackies aren't even particularly talented, their motions are dull and sluggish. This consistent indignity even extends to the finale fight. Recycled Chan footage is subordinated by Tung's newly discovered kung fu abilities and his elaborate bamboo death traps. Chan is used as a placeholder, manfully wearing down the final opponent so Austin Wai can leap in at the last second to deliver the killer blow.

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